Proposal may regulate tech use in classrooms

Justen Vrabel, vice president of the Student Government Association, has written a proposal that will provide clear guidelines on what technology Youngstown State University students can (and can’t) use during their classes.

Vrabel will present his proposal to the YSU Academic Senate during the next SGA meeting on March 6.

YSU has not enforced a policy regarding the use of technology in the classroom. Students have relied on the discretion of each instructor for what is and isn’t appropriate.

The policy will help clear up any confusion that students have regarding the use of tablets, laptops and smartphones during class, Vrabel said.

“It was brought to our attention that a lot of students use tablets in class. We want to make clear guidelines for what technology students are allowed to use,” he said.

If the proposal moves forward, YSU students will be allowed to use their tablets and laptops for educational purposes.

“There weren’t specific instances that lead to the proposal, but a concerned student wanted to use his laptop and wasn’t sure what the rules were,” Vrabel said. “This eliminates any hassles from teachers.”

Vrabel wrote a resolution within the policy that excludes the use of smartphones. If a student wants to use his phone for schoolwork, it depends on the instructor’s discretion.

Craig Marks, a senior at YSU, said he hasn’t had any problems with his instructors but believes that campuswide rules would be useful.

“Most people on their laptops, iPads or iPhones are not doing school-related things,” Marks said. “I sat behind a kid once who brought a [PlayStation 2] controller and was playing PlayStation games on an emulator program.”

Marks said he’s not “holier-than-thou about it,” but that the misuse of technology is distracting to the rest of the students in a class.

“If a professor thinks the technology is being misused, they will be allowed to prohibit distractions from their classroom,” Vrabel said.

The next step will be a review by the YSU Information Technology Advisory Committee. The policy has a chance to be enacted as early as April.